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The Oak Park Farmers Market, offering high quality, locally-grown produce, is held in the Pilgrim Church Parking lot at 460 Lake St. from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October. Call for a free pickup and ride to the Market (Tel. 708. 383.4806). Please call before 2:00pm on Friday.

A NOTE FROM COLLEEN MCNICHOLS:

Thank you for being part of our food community for the 44th year!

We want to thank you for supporting our market throughout another successful season by offering complimentary stone soup beginning at 9:00am this Saturday (until it runs out). Chef Brad Knaub of Carnivore, Inc. in Oak Park is working his culinary magic creating the two soups (one vegetarian and one meat — all from Market ingredients) for our big closing event. In addition, Pilgrim Church has perfected their annual chocolate donuts and apple cinnamon donuts (offered one day a year). This is also your last chance to have your knives professionally sharpened at American Pride for holiday carvings. Our favorite local musicians will serenade the shoppers from 9:00am until 11:30am.

Ancient civilizations (Greeks, Romans, Assyrians) used the healing (and sometimes embalming) properties of propolis (natural compound produced by bees). At last week’s Market, my throat began to ache and I could not talk nor swallow without pain. I went directly to the booth of our beekeeper Konni of Three Bees (formerly known as Dennanne Apiary). Konni gave me her propolis spray and I swabbed my throat with her raw honey. I went home, made tea with ginger root from Nichols Farm and Orchard  and rested. I woke up Sunday feeling perfect.

Our market is so much more than a place to shop. It is a community. As I stock my shelves and freezer and refrigerator with Market staples for the off-season: I will be nourished by the vendors’ labors but will miss our camaraderie; We share recipes and ideas and support. Next season is the 45th anniversary of a market that started with just one farmer and a strong woman’s vision.

Here is motivation to wrap yourself up in your favorite scarf and join us on Saturday:

Aside from the super versatile edible pumpkins, carving pumpkins, and funky gourds enjoy the arugula, beans, bok choy,  broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, green onions, greens galore, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce mix and lettuce heads mushrooms, peppers, romanesco, and spinach. Plus chestnuts, beets, carrots, garlic, leeks, onions, potatoes (including sweet), parsnips, radishes, shallots, winter squashes, (maybe some final tomatoes), turnips, plums, grapes, heirloom apples and apple cider. Dried and fresh floral bouquets will add beauty to your Autumn table settings. For your sweet tooth, Oak Park Concert Chorale provides baked goodies as a fundraiser for their choir.

Breadman’s breads are freezer-friendly, so you will want to stock up on his best-sellers including Cinnamon Swirl (with or without raisins) and Multi-Seed loaf. Also, Frank is selling the ever-popular organic grains and products from Brian Severson Farms at his Breadman booth (flour, grits, cornmeal, pancake mix, popping corn, etc.). I freeze Severson products (next to my blueberries from last summer).

Katic Breads is offering the following for the big closing party; Specialty Bread:  Blue Cheese, Roasted Walnut and Specialty Croissant:  Pistachio-Blackberry Croissant.  

Tomato Mountain’s jarred salsas and tomato sauces are must-haves on your winter shelf.

River Valley Ranch has you covered for Holiday entertaining and cozy dinners at home with their dips, sauces, bloody mary mixes, granolas, bruschetta, and famous mushroom creations.

This week, the best of the sustainable Midwest meat & egg farms (Mint Creek, Finns’ Steak & Eggs Ranch, Green Fire Farm) are offering meat with no antibiotics, no hormones, no nonsense.  Place your order for your Thanksgiving turkey and pick it up in Oak Park. Ask the farmer for details.

Honey, beeswax, beeswax products (including adorable candles for Thanksgiving), elderberry syrup are available from Three Bees. K.V. Stovers Farm has Michigan maple syrup and spiced peach salsa, along with dried fruit and preserves and dips. Thankfully we can take advantage of the long shelf life of the international award-winning cheeses and butters from Brunkow Baked Cheese. J2K Capraio is offering new cave-aged gems like the Tomme and their ever-popular goat and cow soft cheeses.

Our long-term vendor, and anchor of our Market community, Jim Vitalo of Herbally Yours is bringing his mixed herbs and seasoned vinegars.

Sitka Salmon Shares offers a final chance to purchase your seafood delicacies and sign up for the Spring 2020 fish share to be delivered to your doorstep.

See you on Saturday as we celebrate our community of food and love!

-Colleen McNichols

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